Five “surprise” players to watch at Bears camp

As padded practices begin for the Chicago Bears, here are five “under the radar” players to watch during training camp and the preseason.

    1. 1. Dejon Allen, OT/OG, rookie undrafted free agent, Hawaii….Allen was a possible late-round draft consideration, but slipped through the cracks. He’s an athletic knee-bender with good feet but a bit undersized for tackle, making a move inside to guard probable. He started 49 games in four seasons for the Rainbow Warriors, including 25 starts at left tackle his junior and senior years. Allen lacks consistency in his fundamentals, however, and tends to lackadaisical with his technique.  Needs to get stronger and build mass, but could find a landing spot on the practice squad.
    2. Kevin Toliver, CB, rookie undrafted free agent, LSU…highly-rated five-star recruit coming out of high school, Toliver found the field quickly at LSU but his career never quite materialized as expected.  His skill set–size, footwork, instincts and long arms is evident, but nagging injuries and disciplinary issues sidelined him too often.  He was a bit player his junior year due to missed time and left school a year early.  The Bears hope the reality of play-for-pay motivates him enough to put his best foot forward in camp.  Toliver could crack the final 53 if he can remain healthy and show up on special teams.
    3. Rashard Fant, CB, rookie undrafted free agent, Indiana….Fant improved each season during his college career, becoming a dependable leader on the Hoosiers attack units.  He’s undersized and thinly built, but demonstrates a high football IQ and has a knack for being around the ball in crucial times.  Long arms and good leaping skills add to his value as an extra DB and special teams performer.  Fant is fighting for one spot in a crowded defensive backfield so his best opportunity could be to latch onto the practice squad.
    4. Ryan Nall, RB, rookie undrafted free agent, Oregon State….Nall was a versatile backfield weapon for the Beavers, leading the team in rushing over the last two seasons while displaying dependable hands.  He decided to leave school a year early after Oregon State made a coaching switch.  Nall is more athletic than he appears, possessing the vision and quick feet to find cracks inside. He’s solid, not flashy and will have to showcase enough blocking skills to stick as a fullback/H-back hybrid.
    5. Kylie Fitts, OLB, sixth-round selection in 2018 draft, BYU….Fitts plays a position where the Bears have a distinct need, meaning he’ll be given a lengthy interview. If he can overcome the injury history that plagued him in college, Fitts possesses a high upside. He demonstrates a quick get-off and the change of direction skills desired in a outside rusher. Athletically, he’s off the charts with his size/speed/power combo, but lacks the overall experience and durability to be counted on.  Fitts play figures to be one of the most intriguing storylines of Bears camp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *